THE Alba Party has announced its latest General Election candidate as they insist more than a dozen hopefuls will contest seats across Scotland later this year.

Alex Salmond’s party will be contesting Aberdeen North, where musician Charlie Abel will aim to take the seat off the SNP’s Kirsty Blackman.

The party has been suggesting so far it will stand a minimum of 12 candidates across the country but has now said it is “confident” the numbers will be “far greater”.

It comes as Neale Hanvey, the Alba MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, launched his campaign on Monday to be re-elected.

He will contest the newly-established and similarly named Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy seat, which covers most of the area he currently represents.

Described as a lifelong Scottish independence supporter, Abel was a member of the SNP for 17 years before joining Alba in 2021.

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While working for his father's garage and taxi business, he had flexibility to pursue his career a music, founding the Iron Broo Ceilidh Band who have entertained weddings and audiences across the north east and abroad for three decades. 

He said he wanted to make Scottish independence an “immediate priority”.

Abel (below) said: “At this General Election with Alba Party on the ballot paper, the people of Aberdeen North will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate and a party that will make independence an immediate priority. 

The National:

"Every vote for Alba Party will move the dial on the SNP compass towards action on independence. The only way Scotland can achieve its full potential is for Scotland to become an independent country.

“Almost all our economic and social issues are a result of being held back by the Union. Westminster takes the bread from Scotland and gives little crumbs in return.

“Fuel poverty is a scandal in an energy-rich Scotland. Food banks are shameful; there should be no poverty in our resource-rich Scotland. 

“Independence means the people of Scotland will be in a position to make the decisions that are best suited for the people of Scotland. That's a positive vision that is well worth campaigning for.”

After being elected in 2019, Hanvey was the second MP to defect from the SNP to Alba in 2021 after former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill had made the shift.

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He said: “When I put myself forward as a candidate in 2019, I believed the SNP could still engage in respectful debate on any issue. I also believed the party’s primary focus was the cause of independence. Over the past five years both of those beliefs have been repeatedly shattered.

“As we move toward another Westminster General Election, one I hoped Scotland would never have to contest, I have a track record of achievement upon which I am proud to stand, and I’m the only MP to introduce legislation on Scottish self-determination.

“As I launch my campaign for re-election my commitment to independence will never waver, but as a movement we can only achieve that by striving to do the right thing for all of Scotland.”

Salmond said it was clear his party would be contesting “rather more” than the 12 seats it had originally aimed for, adding that he expects to make more announcements in the coming weeks.

The former first minister said: “We originally thought to contest 12 seats. With the level of enthusiasm in our branches it is likely it will be rather more than that.

“Neale Hanvey is our first of many candidates that will be announced in the coming weeks. If we work hard then ALBA can make a big impact for independence in the coming election.”